On January 8TH many conservation groups & said leadership will address
the Iowa Legislative Rules Committee on the issue of unequal property
tax assessment policies that are creating massive problems with
conservation programs and said acres that are enrolled in some
conservation program be it WRP, CRP, EWP or other. What is happening is
that they are using a CSR rating to determine or asses ones property
tax value. What that means is if your acres are rated high for crop
production and you have some acres that are marginal and enrolled in
some conservation program even those acres in the set aside will be
rated as high and thus your property tax assessment is higher. What is
going on all across Iowa is that producers who would enroll
conservation acres are not doing so because they would be forced to pay
CSR rating taxes on marginal acres, thus many of them are forced to
plant it or rent it to pay said property tax assessment. They have
painted a simple system based on CSR rating as the tool used to
determine property taxs and this has and will continue to hurt
conservation programs and participation into what many call voluntary
The deck is being stacked here folks against conservation programs and
this does include how your present public acres are rated as well and
also effects the amount of money sportsmen of Iowa will pay each year
in property taxes right out of the States Habitat Stamp Program. With
this said the long term effects are simple to understand. If this CSR
assessment issue isn't solved more and more each year will be spent of
habitat stamp funds to pay said property taxes on said conservation
acres. This will end up jeopardizing the purpose and intent of the fund
to No longer Support it's primary purpose or function from enhancing
habitat, to restoring habitat to protecting habitat in the state of
Iowa. Your habitat stamp funds will all be spent on paying conservation
acre property taxes and you as sportsmen will not be able to purchase,
buy or by agreement acquire any new habitat acres in the state of Iowa.
I personally in opinion do not feel that this measure / effect was an
un-intended consequence but rather designed with the intent and purpose
to restrict, limit conservation efforts out on the Iowa landscape. A
means to an end if you will, that will have the effect of slowly
choking the life and ability of sportsmen of Iowa of saving, protecting
and restoring vital habitat for public access. A similar policy /
assessment tax was done last year by the Iowa Drainage districts which
assesses a drainage tax on Iowa wetlands, marshes and public lakes.
This tax is also paid for by sportsmen of Iowa through the state
habitat stamp fund and portions of other funds derived by sportsmen.
Make no mistake about it folks, these things are being done purposely
to restrict , limit and outright prohibit conservation programs and
sportsmen dollars from being applied to the landscape to save habitat,
protect habitat and certainly limit our ability to Restore Habitat. This CSR rating process is icing on the cake that attacks conservation programs that farmers may have considered but cant due to the CSR rating property tax problem. This will and is having negative consequences out on the landscape and when you couple other parts of the battle being fought here, it is clear, very clear that the deck is being stacked against conservation programs, measures and sportsmen in general.
The long term consequences may not leave your children the type of dream we all wished to leave behind for them as sportsmen and is exactly why this CSR rating issue must be resolved and your Support needed.
As a sportsmen I ask that each of you stand up to protect our vital
conservation programs and their ability to reach the private landscape.
As a sportsmen I ask that each of you stand up to Protect YOUR vital
Habitat Stamp Funds and their ability to reach the private landscape to
provide greater and better opportunity for all Iowa sportsmen.
Some have not recognized the huge roll that Iowa Sportsmen have played
in Helping address Iowa's Environmental struggles. Many fail to recognize the full economic contribution conservation programs have played in helping Iowa and Iowan's reduce it's tax payer liability in funding the true cost of environmental clean up, left in the wake of ditch to ditch scale farming mentality. They are making it next to impossible for farmers to even consider conservation practices as an option and eventually that tax payer liability / cost will in fact catch up to all Iowan's.
Call your Senator and Representative from DM and let them know that they have got to fix this CSR rating problem and exempt marginal acres or conservation acres from the process.
This is not and I repeat an issue any of us should take lightly as the consequences will have long term effects on the future of our natural resources and the future of Hunting & Fishing trapping in the state of Iowa.
William J. Smith
Make that Call today folks because Tomorrow may be to Late!
Good Luck & God Bless